Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sailor Girl.

Remember how I had ambitious plans to sew a bunch of Christmas presents for the children in my life, but never did? Of course, what I didn't mention then, because it was top-secret, was that I was suffering from the first trimester blahs, which I'm sure many of you can relate to. You know, a little nausea and a whole lot of blah. Early pregnancy is not really compatible with ambitious plans of any variety. I really should have known better; after all, I've been through this once before.

So I never did make any of the cute outfits I had planned; instead I issued IOUs to the parents of said children, who were all very understanding, of course.

Now that I'm well into the second trimester and feeling a bit more energetic, I've been on a major sewing kick, so I thought it might be fun to finally sew up some outfits for the kiddos.

First up, I decided to make a Envelope Tee and Sailboat Pants for my adorable little niece Helen, who is a few months shy of two years old now.

For the envelope tee, I used two old tops that I long ago relegated to the "harvest for fabric" pile: a red ribbed tank, and a brown striped shirt (which was featured in this raglan t-shirt a while back). It went together really easily, although one of these days, I'm going to try using a walking foot to sew knits and see if that helps avoid the stretching I inevitably seem to get when I try to apply ribbing. I am pretty happy with how this red ribbing worked out, though. Awesome bright red will cover a multitude of sewing errors, I find.

Envelope Tee.

Using ribbing along the bottom as well as the neckline of the shirt saved me having to do a proper hem, and also added some length to this pattern, which I have found to be a bit short in the larger sizes. Plus, it just needed more red. You know how that goes.

Is it just me, or does this top just scream for some denim Oliver + s Sailboat Pants with red buttons and red toptstiching to complete the nautical theme? Yeah, I thought so too.

Sailboat Pants.

With the pants, though, I ran into a snag. Just as I was ready to make the cute buttonholes on these pants, I realized I had misplaced the buttonhole foot for my nice new machine! Doh! I tore apart my messy sewing corner, to no avail. I had used the foot (and the same fabric) just this past weekend, so hopefully it will turn up, but I'm a little worried that Joe might have picked it up and "put it away" for me, in which case I may never see it again.

Luckily, it is not an expensive or difficult to replace item, so worst case, I will just buy another one, right? So I called my local Singer dealer, only to find out they do not carry it in stock, so it will have to be ordered. "What?" I exclaimed in despair, "But you don't understand! I have cute pants to make!! Right now! It's an emergency!" (Okay, I didn't actually say that. Inwardly, all was turmoil, but I made a valiant effort not to appear like a crazed, pregnant, sewing maniac.)

Well, reader, I had no choice but to pull my old 1970s Singer and crazy space-aged buttonhole attachment from our back room chock-full storage area. As anyone who has seen my sewing corner will immediately attest, I don't have space for two sewing machines. Thus, my husband has been asking me to post my trusty old Singer Stylist on Craigslist and my vintage buttonhole attachments on Ebay ever since I got my new machine, but seriously, I have just been so busy!

Really, I can't seem to spare a single minute to work on a listing ... cough cough.

Buttonholer Attachment.

I do wish I had the space to keep my Stylist up and running, because I gotta tell you: Those old buttonhole attachments make truly beautiful buttonholes. (P.S. You know you're a total sewing geek when you find yourself saying "that attachment makes truly beautiful buttonholes.")


 Disaster averted, and pants completed.

Sailboat pants and envelope tee.

I delivered this outfit to the young recipient this evening, and both items fit well, with a little room to grow, which made me pretty pleased.

The Stylist is still set up, just in case I need to make any more buttonholes ...


  1. Dear Inders husband/partner/lover.
    I counted my machines I have 3 overlockers and 5 sewing machines. I keep them all because they each have a skill that they do well.
    PS Tell Inder great outfit!

    1. Hahaha! Steve! Check this out! (I knew you ladies would have my back here.)

  2. Such a cute outfit. I still don't have that pants pattern but it's on my wishlist. I'm such a lazy commenter... I did say congrat's on the baby bump I hope? I read and enjoy all your posts :) Happy Monday!

    1. Thanks Crystal! It's a great pattern - you get these cute pants, plus a skirt version, and an adorable sailor-style top.

  3. Love this set, Inder!
    And ditto Nicole's note to your hubby!
    I've got a pair of red sailboats cut out and started on my desk at the moment :-)

    1. I made a pair of red sailboat pants for Joe a long time ago ( and he wore them a TON. (He has only recently started to outgrow them, and they have an unfortunate stain on the bottom now. Such is life with active, growing children!) In my book, red is a neutral color that goes with everything. :-)

  4. And to add to the chorus... our 'dining table' is kind of semi-permanently set up with my sewing machine next to my overlocker next to my coverstitch machine. Um, not to mention the other three or four sewing machines stashed in the 'study'.
    Very cute little outfit. Red highlights are always, always a good idea :)

    1. At least you don't have to move your computer over to set up your sewing machines, like I did (just noticed, that's the Cirque du Bebe blog on our monitor behind my machine!). You can see how that might cramp one's husband's style a bit while he's trying to read the online news in the morning ...

      Still, I will remind him that he's lucky to have a woman with only two sewing machines. Really, he doesn't appreciate me nearly enough. :p

  5. Adorable outfit! I am embarrassed to say I have never done a button hole. I've tried a few times but I always end up with a horrid tangle of threads and a jammed machine... even after it has just been serviced, so it must be something I'm doing. I have a number of project ideas in the wings that stay there because I'd need to know how to make a button hole to do them. But one day I WILL join your club of beautiful button hole makers. You credit your machine, but I suspect you had a thing or two to do with it as well.

    1. If you read back through my archives, you'll see that I've struggled mightily with buttonholes as well. My Stylist has a four-step buttonhole that is functional but looks like crap. It wasn't until I found the awesome attachment that I was able to make "beautiful buttonholes." Similarly, my new machine has a buttonhole foot that really grabs the fabric, and it works well too. This is an area where, truly, having the right equipment seems to make a big difference. Keep working at it! Experiment, experiment, experiment.

  6. That outfit is ridiculously cute and I am demanding that you immediately make one in my size! :)
    Seriously, those pants are adorable (love the red contrast stitching and buttons...and those beautiful button holes of course) and the shirt with the extra ribbing on the bottom is too cute!

    1. I know. I would totally wear this outfit too! Perhaps with a little kerchief at the neck?

      I think I'm going to be doing the ribbing on the bottom a lot more now that I've seen how good it looks. The longer length is really cute on niece Helen, and it gives her a little more room to grow (she's skinny, but pretty tall for a 21 mo. old). Win/win.

  7. Love the pants! beautiful buttonholes are a thing of wonder :D also i enjoy seeing girls clothes not just in pink, very refreshing


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